Monday, September 12, 2005

And I call myself a Literature Scholar

Last Sunday, we visited Walden Pond with friends (the ones who graciously let us stay at their house while waiting for our furniture). The state park has a replica, plus the actual remains of, Thoreau's cabin- the one he used to write his famous "Walden" reflections on - um, on.. well, that I don't know. You see, I never read Thoreau (but I did read and enjoy writings from his good friend, Emerson, who, apparently, used to own the very land that surrounded the pond). My literature education focused on contemporary authors, mostly women, and I left both of my degrees with a slight distain for the so-called "dead white guys." Much like the vibe in academics and politics these days, it became quite easy to have an open attitude for the "correct" authors (women, non-American cultures)- and wholeheartedly dismiss the former perspectives of those who had been in the spotlight for so many years. That's not only prejudicial, but just plain silly - to dismiss someone because they come from a particular era or group that may or may not have representated the oppression of other groups (e.g. Thoreau was able to spend oodles of time reflecting and writing precisely because his sister washed his clothes, made his meals, and tidied up the cabin- leaving little time for her own creative endeavors- if she allowed herself even entertain such thoughts). While I champion the voices that usually don't have agency to speak or be heard, I ultimately appreciate a genuinely beautiful piece of writing. So, I read some "Walden." It's not bad. Makes me long for hours to just sit and think. Reading "Solitude" was a nice break from the main writing I'm doing these days- cover letters and resumes.

Visiting Walden's Pond was also a nice break from adjusting to our new home. It doesn't look like a pond, though. I always imagine a pond as something you could walk across. This "pond" was at least a mile long (that's a guess). It's definitely a lake (we decided that a pond needs to have lilypads). The water was warm and the beach spotted with the usual assortment of sandy shoes, towels, umbrellas, and little kids' naked bums. Like our neighborhood, the park reminded me of a movie scene- particularly the scenes from the film, "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" (book was better, of course). If you saw the movie, the four girls grew up on the beach during summer. The moms sunned in their lounge chairs while the kids ran, jumped, and swam in the lake all day under the perfect warm sun-- as if summer was just one long day a the lake. Imagine those scenes, take out the fifties outfits, and you'll know what Walden Pond was like last Sunday. Jack played in the water; Ed took him out pretty deep. Jack would sqeal, half afraid/half excited whenever Ed would bounce him up to his chest in the lake (see picture, below). The weather was warm- perfect for swimming. About fifteen minutes after we arrived, though, a big, black cloud settled over us and spilled warm rain drops on us for about twenty minutes. At least the rain was warm, too.

After the pond, we traveled to a sculpture museum in East Concord - complete with a life-sized car from the 40s, spray-painted silver, whose windows were replaced with televisions playing David Bowie videos. All the modern sculptures were outside, so we had a picnic dinner and wandered around to look at the pieces, reflecting the sun through the recent raindrops. Like many drives outside the city, the road leaving Concord was lined with vast amounts of trees, all promising brilliant fall colors soon.

I went home, happy to have had a good day (finally). With fall around the corner, and Halloween not far away (apparently apple-picking is a big deal here), I'm getting excited about having real seasons. It's nice to have something to look forward to.

1 comment:

  1. You know, I only have a BA, but it was in English. And I, too, am regularly embarrassed having to admit that I haven't read some important author. I was in a book store with my mother the other day and she was looking at Updike. "I've never read him," she said. "I think it's time I did." I was so relieved. My mother, the biggest bibliophile I've ever known, and I've known some, admitted to not having read one of the great American contemporary authors! I'm only telling you this because I think that we all have those skeletons in our literary closets, no matter what our concentration of study was in. Now you can cross Walden off your list. (Your men are adorable, by the way!)